Bogus DMCA notices are unfortunately nothing new, but one recently issued to Google from Microsoft seems to go a bit further—and get a bit more absurd—than your average takedown request. This one hit sites like Wikipedia, the BBC, TechCrunch, and AMC Theaters, seemingly over the use of the number 45.
The request deals with a couple of different pieces of software, allegedly being distributed illegally at the 700-800 or so (mostly suspicious) URLs listed, but it's the section relating to the Windows 8 Beta that's worth noting. It includes items such as:
- BBC News coverage about the Olympic Torch Relay (Day 45)
- A TechCrunch post about Roku's success with content producers (they raised $45 million)
- Wikipedia's page on Caesars Civil War (49-45 BC)
- Wikipedia's page on the 45th Fighter Squadron (self-explanatory)
- A Huffington Post article citing Mitt Romney's poll numbers (45 percent)
A few of the others, like AMC Theater's page on The Dark Night Rises (2 hours and 45 minutes) and Rotten Tomatoes page for the movie Brake (46 percent fresh, presumably it used to be 45) start to feel a little more like an exercise in thinking like a conspiracy theorist, but either way the links are still clearly non-infringing and the 45s are there, if not in the URL.
These requests to Google just remove pages from Google search, not the actual content itself. And it seems that the real giants like the BBC and Wikipedia have gotten white-listed, but this is still an interesting look at exactly how weird and wrong these automated takedown requests can get. Better be careful using numbers; some computer somewhere finds that behavior to be super sketchy. [TorrentFreak]